Connecting the dots

After a prolonged deliberation I have decided to use this space to express myself in a more personal way. I love posting general things that happen, I like arguing my case, but I feel completely at lost in being real. What I mean by this is: attaching my face to the substance. I like substance. I am always the body of the situation, while hating being the face. Often I notice faces with little substance, but I decided that, if I am to be real and if my story here where I am now is to be real, I need to stop hiding myself.

My name is Esther and for the first time in my life I am writing this while not applying for a job, a program, degree or dating site. I am currently 28 years of age and I am an Israel Teaching Fellow employed by Masa in the city of Beersheva. I am a London university graduate in BA International Relations and Law, MA in International Security Studies and a DPSI in Public Service Interpreting. I had extensive work experience on executive level and I decided that if I did not make a move then and chase my dreams they would die of old age way sooner that I would.

I read my old post and saw how afraid I was to make a decision and how excited to dream again. I did it. I quit my job, I moved to Israel and I am teaching children English in a primary school in Beersheva. It’s absolutely insane and I am the happiest I have been in many years. The children are everything between charming, problematic, adorable and frustrating. I work with children ages varying from 7 to 11, both boys and girls. I always thought that I couldn’t teach children, always blaming it on my impatience and though the levels of my patience (always being low) dropped dramatically since I moved here, I find myself accepting and excusing more than I would in England. This country is very close to my heart and one must love it to forgive all the problems one experiences with bureaucracy, undisciplined chilren, bus drivers yelling at you for no apparent reason and cockroaches (yes, they are here!).

I also found two courses that I attend at the Ben Gurion University, while meeting new people and gathering more insignt into my research. I have just come back from Masa Leadership Summit in Jerusalem, I showered and I’m sitting on my bed writing this. Coughing accompanies every word I’m typing. All this is worth spending time with people that are so different, yet so similar, learning together, arguing together and finding alliances as well as recognising enemies. I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Last time I wrote I was looking toward the desert, wanting to leave and search what my heart desired. Now I am finding myself in a situation where the desert was not as big as I imagined it to be, rather it was a process of freeing myself from things that were slowing me down and fighting my fears to get to this place here. But now when I look forward, I do not see the desert any more. I see possibilities.

I do not know how this makes me feel, rather than happy. I am taking every day as it comes, trying not to waste even one minute and I am living really like I have never (!) lived before. I was warned that I would experience cultural clash when I move to Israel. That Israelis are rude, obnoxious, loud, rapid… funny. When I landed I felt at home straightaway. The Israelis are rude? Of course they are! They are this amazing breed of ‘low bullshit tolerance’ kind of people. Straight to the point. So much like the environment I was brought up in. Oh, forgot to mention. I am not British, I am a Polish Jewess and more than ever I enjoy being myself!

I visit dozens of people for Shabbat, more than half of them strongly believe that the solution to all my problems with accommodation (there are some) is getting married. I actually experienced a talk between my host teacher and her husband on Shabbat where she was explaining to him that I am living with two girls in a very small flat and he answered: “So what’s the problem? She needs a shidduch!”. While I was laughing, my host teacher explained to her husband that he needs to think twice before saying anything because I understand Hebrew. It’s not perfect, but I am getting there. I love this language. It’s so logical. Everything makes sense and every word actually comes from somewhere. So I ended up being set up on blind dates with men I would not consider dating, all because people really wish me well and they are determined that I should not remain unmarried. To actually see them plotting against me is heart-warming, though I always have second thoughts seeing their choices…

I landed here just a day after the war has ended and even then there were multiple rockets fired at the city I am living in now. Some people told me that I was crazy moving to Israel at this time, but my answer was (in the form of a question, of course) if not now then when? This is sadly the reality of Israel and the life just moves on. It’s horrible sometimes, that is, what is happening here, but the determination of Israelis to get on with life is admirable and strenghtening. I feel safer here than I felt in London or anywhere else in the world. I now it sounds crazy, but until one experiences being here while horrible things are happening and yet feels this strange sense of sadness, but peace nonetheless, it is very hard to explain why someone would want to live here. My answer is, why not? This is Israel.

Tomorrow is Friday and I am going to visit a friend of mine in Har Nof in Jerusalem. This is what I mean. Only few weeks after the brutal murder at the shul, she flies there from London to study at the seminary, and I am visiting her. People get on here step by step, through joys and hardships. I still can’t believe I am here, but I cherish every moment and every breath I take.

I am connecting the dots, there are certainly leading somewhere, but at least now I wander while being at home. I am not lost. P1010176

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